Chief Minister Raman Singh said his Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) was confident of forming a government for a third five-year term, but Congress leaders countered his claim.

Balloting on Tuesday in 72 of the 90 constituencies was a peaceful exercise marred only by the death of one man in firing by security forces.

The first phase on November 11 saw voting for 18 seats, mostly in Bastar region, a Maoist stronghold.

Chief Electoral Officer Sunil Kujur put the voter turnout at 74.7 percent.

The main battle is between the BJP and the Congress, which ruled the state for three years after Chhattisgarh was carved out from Madhya Pradesh in 2000.

Raman Singh campaigned in all the 90 constituencies barring Kharasia where the son of former Congress state president Nandkumar Patel, who was killed by Maoists, is in the fray.

Raman Singh sounded confident of retaining power.

"Trends suggest the BJP will form a government smashing all previous records," the Ayurvedic doctor-turned-politician said.

"The high voter turnout mainly by women and youths in both phases is recognition of all the good work of my government."

Raman Singh, however, said he was pained by the "baseless allegations" and foul language used by Congress leaders during campaigning.

The Congress star and former chief minister Ajit Jogi claimed that the massive voter turnout meant the BJP regime was on its way out.

"Ten years of gross misrule is going to get over. We will get a formal confirmation on December 8," he told the media at Marwahi where his only son, Amit Jogi, is launching his political career.

Congress state president Charan Das Mahant added: "The Congress is set to form a new government."

On Tuesday, turnout was brisk since morning, By noon, about 30 percent of voting was recorded.

Over 13.9 million voters, including 6.83 million women, were eligible to exercise their franchise at 18,015 polling stations to decide the fate of 843 candidates, 75 women included.

There was heavy polling in a few constituencies, including Marwahi.

There were minor clashes between BJP and Congress workers in Durg city and in Bilaspur constituency.

One person was killed and another injured on Tuesday at a polling booth in Saja when a Central Reserve Police Force trooper opened fire at a group of people following an argument.

Director General of Police Ramniwas said two or three people who were reportedly drunk came to the polling station in Bhindarwani village and had a heated argument with policemen deployed there.

The second phase polling for 72 seats was spread over 19 districts.


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